Whether inflicted or imagined, guilt is such an insidious pest.

It is worse than tales of earwigs crawling into your ears and munching on your brain until you go mad or die. No, this woman is not morbid. She just recalled a Star Trek episode where some unfriendly aliens inserted a giant earwig-like creature into Chekov’s ears. Without going into detail, just know the guy suffered before the story writers gave us a happy ending.

Perhaps the example was a gruesome start to a column about guilt. Oh well. Chin up. Take a couple of deep breaths and soldier on, dear reader. Occasionally, your humble writer tends to deep dive down weird rabbit holes just to shake things up a bit.

What makes you feel guilty? Is it something you successfully rebel against, such as thoughts, actions, or beliefs that make no sense to you? Even the very act of rebellion is a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, you feel proud of forging your path and going against the accepted grain. And yet, the years of indoctrination have power, and that is what pokes unmercifully at your conscience.

More often than not, guilt is irrational. If you enjoy the company of a select few friends, diving into the mindless swirl of socializing with a large group is difficult and uncomfortable. Then guilt makes an unwanted appearance in the form of your social-conscious family demanding your participation.

If your focus in life is on pleasing other people, your disillusionment and misery will never end. Some folks lap up kindness and attention, while the miserable souls reject you no matter what you do. Disapproval is their rapier of righteousness.

Your continued efforts are similar to beating your head against a concrete wall. Subconsciously, even if they do not acknowledge it, les miserable manage to blame you for their unhappy state. And yet, you feel guilty. It is an illogical response on your part, but that is how guilt works.

The lady of the manor’s epiphany came somewhere in her forties. A loosely translated Hungarian saying is apropos here. “The coin finally fell into the correct slot.” She realized and accepted the fact you cannot please everyone. With that insight, the weight seemed to lift off her shoulders, and life moved one.

Gone was the uncalled-for guilt. In its place was a sea of calmness. The unhappy folks still tried to guilt the lady into feeling and believing their misery was her fault. But, the pebbles they tossed into the sea of attempted guilt-tripping no longer worked.

Far too many people perfected the weaponizing of guilt into an art form. We offer two examples.

Sometimes an emotion-driven overeater does so due to unhappy circumstances in their life. Then the person responsible for your emotional state berates you for gaining weight. It is a vicious cycle of misery and guilt.

The unhappy person needs a semblance of control in her life resulting in excessive control over her children. When her child misbehaved, this person’s favorite maneuver was to clutch her chest and exclaim, “My heart, my heart.” The child felt guilty and may even be traumatized for life, but the mother had regained control.

Our second tale is about a couple who were excessively materialistic. Controlling the lives of their children was critical. So much so, they told their children and grandchildren, “If you get tattoos bigger than the size of a quarter or get body piercings, you will lose your inheritance.” 

Their eldest granddaughter’s response? She got sizable tattoos and several body piercings.

Her nonchalant shrug and chuckle underscored her intention. “Guess I’m out of their will.”

No matter how hard we try, no one can successfully avoid imagined or real guilt. For example, this lady finally sold Hubby’s chickens. Whenever she glances at the chicken coop, she feels guilty and agonizes over her decision.

She hated taking care of those cluckers. The roosters constantly crowed, “we need food.” They did not care if she froze in the winter or slogged through rain, mud, and heat.

The lady of the manor loves country life but intensely disliked being a Chicken Tender.

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